A filthy roach-infested apartment with a noose hanging from the ceiling. Inside the noose are three chic friends enjoying cocktails at a bistro. They want you to come, too.
Return to Perfume Home

The Kate Spade brand released Walk On Air in 2015. Three years later, Kate Spade hanged herself. Is that name ironic or descriptive? To 'walk on air' means to be joyful and unfettered by worries and woes, which Kate Spade wasn't, or she wouldn't have killed herself. However, specifically, she hanged herself. If she hanged herself with a chair kick, her dangling body would appear to be walking on air. But I do my homework before I write my perfume reviews, and that's not how she did it. She did it doorknob style, on ground level. No dangling.

Classic hangings can kill by asphyxiation, but that's not the first line. The first line is breaking your neck. Doorknob style takes away the neck break so you can only asphyxiate. It also presents a bunch of obstacles that the self-preservation instinct can snag itself on. There's a floor to push off of, a wall to shimmy back up against, and free hands to tear at the rope. If you can't suppress the urge to prop yourself upright and undo or break your rope during the two to seven minutes it takes to black out, you've failed.

And let's not forget, Spade was a honey with money. She was worth $200 million, she didn't have to die painfully* or risk messing up and surviving if she didn't want to. She could've bought a shotgun and livestreamed it. Forged a cancer diagnosis and flown to a right-to-die state. Rented a cherry picker and a catering hall and told the staff to go take a smoke break. The Vessel is a popular suicide attraction in Hudson Yards. The way it works is you climb the stairs up, then take a shortcut down. How much did it cost to build? $200 million, including the tricky parts (lawyers, property rights, etc.). The original Vessel opened too late for Spade to use it, but she could have built one for herself if she wanted to. She'd have had to liquidate some assets, but it's not like she could take them with her anyway.

But no, she didn't do any of that. She took a hard way to die, made it harder, and for a couture flourish she used a red scarf instead of a rope. Unlike most alleged queens who allegedly slay, she actually managed to kill someone. Your fave could never.

What does hanging yourself the hard way smell like? Walk On Air is an ozonic green floral. It leans heavily on lily-of-the-valley with sweet green leaves and a nearly realistic lake breeze accord. It smells like an effective modern update to Jessica McClintock's lineup, just a little sweeter and sleeker for the quirky young millennials and zoomers that the Kate Spade brand was aiming at. It is as tidy and pretty as a SoHo rooftop garden party. You can't smell that everyone at the party is going to walk off the roof when it's over. Walk On Air doesn't smell like anyone's planning to kill themselves. Maybe that's because they already killed themselves. If the blue sky heaven is real and suicides are not prohibited, then maybe killing yourself is how you get into the party.

Walk On Air is semi-linear. You can pick out more of the leaves sometimes, more of the lilies-of-the-valley other times, more of the water still others, but the timing of all of it is random and unconnected to where you are in the drydown. It lasts surprisingly long, too. It's lasted for four hours on my skin, two of those spent sweating hard. Some of the spring fresh accords in Walk On Air are probably crossovers from the home fragrance industry and designed to be tenacious (even if the wearer isn't). The mini splash bottle is very cute. It's a little sky blue circle with a silver sphere cap. There's a plastic black ribbon for remembering the dead wrapped around the neck like a scarf.

I don't know if Spade was wearing Walk On Air when she hanged herself. She didn't own the brand when it was made, so it's not something she would have been proud of. And sure, it's pretty, but so are a lot of other perfumes. If she even liked perfume, there were probably ones that had sentimental value she'd wear instead. I consider it a failure of suicide reporting that I have to baselessly speculate about this. If I hanged myself, I'd make sure to write it down in my note and maybe attach a decant so there wouldn't be any mistakes. But anyway, if Spade did hang herself while wearing Walk On Air, it was a good choice. It's sleek, fresh, lovely, and an effective momentary distraction from the burden of being alive. Recommended!

*The suicide prevention sites will tell you choking hurts. On the other hand, it's also a popular sex game, so how bad could it be? This is a topic for another time.

- 9/13/2021